It’s Michael Chopra week at View From The Ninian and we’re celebrating all things about the great man.
When I was a teenager, I named a Guinea Pig after the City striker. ‘Chopra’ was his name. I didn’t think I could make an article out of that so instead decided to celebrate the Geordie’s iconic goal celebration.
How does Chopra’s iconic ‘boot-on-fire’ celebration compare to other iconic city celebrations? Find out below.
Michael Chopra – Boot on Fire
It was 2009, Cardiff City were managed by Dave Jones. They’d started the season with a bang; two wins and a draw. Eight goals scored, just two conceded and things were looking promising.
August 23rd. Just four games into the season and Bristol City traveled to the Cardiff City Stadium. In the previous season, both Severnside derbies had ended in draws.
Not this time though as Cardiff City swept the Wurzels away, winning the game 3-0 in a win that sent Cardiff City top. Who else but man of the moment Michael Chopra scoring the second goal.
The goal is a reminder of the quality we had in that side. Chris Burke completes a lung-busting, skillful run deep into the Bristol half, has Bothroyd to the right, Whittingham to the left and Chopra darting through the centre.
He elects to play a through ball to the Geordie, who, with the outside of his right boot, sticks it into the right side of the goal.
What followed was an iconic celebration. Chopra ran towards the crown and whips off his boot, goes to touch it but pretends to have his finger burnt, signalling that it was ‘on fire’.
He was indeed on fire that season, scoring 21 goals as the Bluebirds finished 4th in the Championship.
Robert Earnshaw – The Acrobat
A graduate of the Cardiff youth academy, Robert Earnshaw will forever be a favourite among Cardiff supporters. For me, Earnie was the striker I watched during my formative years as a City fan. 86 goals in 183 games for the Bluebirds during his first time meant he is one of the greatest strikers the club has ever seen.
One of the things that made Earnie such a favourite, particularly among younger fans, was his emphatic celebrations. After a goal, Earnie would run away to the fans and perform a somersault.
Managers tried to stop the celebrations – Alan Cork even went as far as fining the Welshman for each flip he performed!
The extrovert did not stop though and continued to flip his way into Cardiff hearts. His celebration is without a doubt one of the most iconic City goal celebrations.
Robin Friday – Friday’s Fingers
Nope, that’s not a title to a porn movie, but an iconic City celebration! Robin Friday is one of the most controversial, but intriguing, players in football history. They say he made George Best look tame!
Cardiff fans were one of the few to see Friday at his best. He could be electric and win games all by himself. Friday played just 20 games for Cardiff, but was voted the club’s all-time top cult hero.
These days, though, Friday is perhaps best known for his iconic celebration. In a match against Luton in 1977, Friday scored past goalkeeper Milija Aleksic and in his celebration, stuck two fingers up to the ‘keeper.
The image would later be used on the front cover of the Super Furry Animals single ‘The Man Don’t Give a Fuck’.
Callum Paterson – Take Your Pick!
The Scottish right-back-come-midfielder-come-striker is a bit of a cult hero himself within the current City side. There’s a clear sense of fun and individuality about him and the fans love that. He even posed with a bottle of blue MD 20/20.
The fan favourite is no stranger to a celebration either! From the super dab against Burnley to busting out the floss and even disco fever in the game against Brighton this year!
His most recent iconic celebration came against Wolves, although it wasn’t his goal he was celebrating! After Junior Hoilett curled the ball into the far right corner to secure the winner, Paterson popped up and two footed the ball in the back of the net.
Why did Callum Paterson two-foot the ball after Hoilett’s winner?! ?? pic.twitter.com/OEX9cEFEfa
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) December 1, 2018
Kenny Miller – Falling Ayatollah
The Scottish legend spent just a single in South Wales, but had a decent impact scoring 10 goals in 43 games as the Bluebirds finished 8th in the Championship, but reach the League Cup final. Miller missed his penalty in the final as Liverpool won in the shoot-out.
Perhaps Miller’s best moment that season came on the opening day, scoring an injury time winner as the Bluebirds secured a 1-0 away win against promotion favourites West Ham.
Miller pulled away towards the ecstatic Cardiff fans and continuously did the ayatollah, even as he took a tumble with Aron Gunnarsson!
Ben Turner – Twirling Shirt
In that game against Liverpool, Cardiff fought until the death. In a match that the Bluebirds should’ve really lost comprehensively, Malky Mackay’s men took Liverpool all the way to penalties – and that should always be celebrated, despite the outcome.
After the game ended 1-1, it went to extra-time. Dirk Kuyt grabbed a goal on 108′ for Liverpool, before big Ben Turner scrambled the ball home to tie it at 2-2.
What followed was a brilliant celebration from the centre-half, who whipped his shirt off and continuously twirled it above his head as he paraded in front of the joyous Cardiff faithful.
So, there we have it. That was my list of iconic Cardiff City celebrations. What ones have I missed? Let me know in the comments below or by tweeting @VFTNinian.
Scott is a lifelong Cardiff City fan and freelance football writer. Scott hosts the VFTN podcast.